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Zorah (tsor-aw', Hebrew: צָרְעָה, also called Zoreah)[1] was an ancient city primarily noted for its mentions in the Bible. It was an ancient city located within south-central Israel in the region of the Shephelah. According to the Book of Joshua, this city was allotted to the tribe of Dan,[2] one of the twelve tribes of Israel. People from this location may be referred to as Zorites or Zorathites. This location has not been absolutely identified, but it is very probable to be coincident with the modern-day village of Surah,[3] which is located 8 miles west of Jerusalem.


Our primary document on the history of Zorah is the Bible itself, which generally names most of the ancient, small and obscure cities and towns in ancient Israel that are not usually noticed by foreign documents from other regions, such as Egypt or Assyria.

Zorah is the location of significance of a few events noted in the Bible, mentioned a handful of times. Accordingly, it was the residence of the man Manoah (a figure from 13:1-23 and 14:2-4) and was the native place of Samson, one of the judges over Israel before the development of Israel's monarchy around the middle of the 11th century BC. Later on, the immediate successor of Solomon, the monarch Rehoboam, was fortifying cities all over Judah, including Zorah, as well as Bethelehem, Etam, Tekoa, Gath, Lachish, and many others.[4] Later, after the Babylonian Exile in the 6-5th centuries BC, it was one of the cities of Judah that were re-inhabited by the Israelite's.[5]

See also